You are likely already worried about student debt in college, but your personal finances are also something you should be thinking about. Even though you may not have a job or only work part-time, the money you have now is valuable and worth saving. Putting money away now while you’re young can help you develop the skills you need to be financially successful later in adulthood. The habits you’re forming now are going to stick and be harder to shake as you get older. That means being irresponsible with money because you’re only a student will cause you to draw similar conclusions as an adult with a career; you may waste any funds leftover from your paycheck because it’s ‘only a little bit’ or ‘I don’t earn enough to save.’ Avoid falling into the trap and start getting money smart in college with these tips.
What does studying have to do with money? More than you may think. Consider those long hours in the library; when your attention starts to drift and energy wanes, you likely get up and head to the coffee shop or hit the vending machine. Maybe you see your friends and decide to go out to eat. You don’t have to spend money to go out, but you’re more likely to do so when you’re staying away from home for long stretches of time. When you throw in a boring textbook or homework you’d rather not be doing, you’re more likely to look for distractions elsewhere. Here are a few ways you can save time studying:
- Read chapter summaries first to take priority notes.
- Avoid cramming right before tests or exams.
- Break up studying into 30-minute chunks rather than multi-hour sessions.
- Use a video to text service to translate long lectures into notes you can highlight and review.
- Avoid studying in groups more than you study alone; you’re more likely to get distracted and start rehashing the same material.
- Get a tutor, especially in weak subjects. They can help you with your homework and teach you ideas more quickly than you’d learn on your own.
Stop Rationalizing Your Overspending
You’re always going to be able to find an excuse if you don’t want to stop spending money. Overspending can become a bad habit just like anything else, and our brains don’t like acknowledging bad habits. Instead, it finds ways to justify them. The next time you feel a pang of guilt or hesitate to make a purchase, accept it. Being a good saver requires honesty. You have to be open about what you need, what you don’t and what would be more valuable left on a shelf.
Start Cooking and Making Your Own Coffee
Turn food out into a treat rather than the norm. Food delivery apps make it even easier for people to become over-reliant on restaurants. Not only do you waste more money, but you also wind up missing out on learning how to cook like an adult. Cereal and ramen will only get you so far. Coffee is another major money sink that can drain you of hundreds of dollars every year. One $4 cup of coffee every day is $28 a week, which equates to $112 each month. Start meal planning, and learn how to make more of your favorite dishes and drinks at home. You’ll save more money and likely eat better, too.